How to Choose a Physical Therapist Program near Whitewater 67154
Obtaining a physical therapist degree near Whitewater KS is an important first step to starting a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help individuals who have been disabled due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they can practice and work with the rehabilitation of patients, they must obtain the proper training and education. A PT must also become licensed in all states, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to choosing a physical therapy school, it’s important to research the ones you are thinking about to make sure they will provide a quality education and meet your state’s licensing criteria. What you should not do is choose a college just because it happens to be the nearest to your home or it has the most affordable tuition. There are other relevant qualifications that need to be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we talk about what those qualifications are and the questions you should be asking, we’ll address what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists work in diverse locations, including Whitewater KS hospitals, health clinics, assisted living facilities, rehab centers and health clubs. What the facilities all have in common is that they are equipped for diagnosing and rehabilitating patients. As earlier mentioned, physical therapists help individuals that are suffering from a lack of mobility and in many cases pain due to illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they create a course of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also strive to stop any progression of the disability. Though the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Heart attacks.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Fire injuries.
- Hip Replacement.
- Cerebral Palsy.
Licensed physical therapists practice in close affiliation with other Whitewater KS medical specialists, including doctors, chiropractors, dentists and nurses. They may also manage several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. One thing to keep in mind for anyone thinking about getting into the physical therapy field, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift patients and heavy equipment, and stand, crouch and kneel for extended periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Available
There are 3 physical therapist degree options offered for students to enroll in at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Of these options, the only degree that is available to practice as a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees target either training students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to advance to the doctoral level. Following are brief summaries of degrees that are available in the Whitewater KS area:
- Associate Degrees prepare students to practice as physical therapy assistants, or may be used as a stepping stone to a more advanced degree. Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are usually made available by community or junior colleges, and take about two years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is normally a component of the course of study.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are created as pre-physical therapist education to prepare students to advance to the doctoral level. While they are not a requirement to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an integral first step to practicing as a PT. Similar to the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they normally take 4 years to complete and usually include an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated in order to become a practicing licensed physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes 3 years to finish, making the overall investment of time 7 years in most cases. Clinical training is an intregal element along with the substantial classroom and lab instruction. Consequently the fulfillment of an internship is required, not only for graduation but in several states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has taken the place of the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer offered in the USA. A number of practicing physical therapists having a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the current licensing mandate for a doctorate was implemented.
Physical Therapy Online Degrees
Although not as prevalent as the on-campus options, there are many accredited online physical therapist degrees available, more so at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on structure of the training, clinical lab work and internships are incorporated with the online classes. This requires that the student live close to the college campus or in proximity of a sponsored internship. Fortunately, the online segment of the curriculum can be accessed within the comfort and convenience of the student’s Whitewater KS home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many cases more economical. Tuition might be somewhat lower than comparable on campus alternatives, and expenditures for commuting are reduced. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, assuring a quality education. These benefits may make the online alternative the right choice for those students that are dedicated enough to attend classes at home.
Questions to Ask Physical Therapy Colleges
At this point you undoubtedly have made a decision concerning some of your preliminary queries, like the type of physical therapist degree you would like to earn, where you want to attend classes, and how much you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Whitewater KS area and throughout Kansas, you’ll need to research other qualifications also in order to further reduce your list of college options. Furthermore, you need to make certain that you enroll in the program that is ideal for you. That’s the reason we have put together a list of important questions that you must ask the physical therapist colleges you are thinking about. Ask each of the potential colleges these questions before making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist School Accredited? Ask if the schools you are reviewing have earned accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As earlier stated, if you are pursuing a doctoral degree the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you select an online school, it can also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s essential that both the physical therapist program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, check that the accreditation is through a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing as well as for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Ranking? In addition to accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you pick have outstanding reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can look into a PT college’s reputation, starting with asking for references from employers that they place their graduates with. You can also check online rating services and reviews and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Call a few Whitewater KS physical therapy centers or other healthcare facilities that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insight about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Kansas Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a two important statistics that you need to know about each of the physical therapist programs you are considering. One is their graduation rate. A lower rate may suggest that students dropped out due to dissatisfaction with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being hired with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Whitewater KS area? If a college has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care field is good or perhaps exceptional. It also confirms that the college has a broad network of contacts to help students obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Does the Program Prepare You For Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you enroll in furnishes both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Kansas or the state where you will be practicing. In every state a passing score is required on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) as well as a degree from an accredited physical therapy college. Although licensing requirements vary state by state for PT and PTA graduates, a number of states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be performed and passing scores on additional tests.
Are Internship Programs Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist programs you are reviewing have partnerships with Whitewater KS clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Internships are not only an excellent way to get practical experience in a clinical environment, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As a supplemental benefit, they may assist graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Whitewater medical community and help with job placement after licensing.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will likely prefer a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the physical therapy colleges you are looking at what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may want to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you an opportunity to converse with several of the instructors and students to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Where is the College Located? For a number of students, the physical therapy school they pick will need to be within driving distance of their Whitewater KS residence. Those who have decided to attend online classes obviously will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to keep in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a program that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges often charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges often charge a higher tuition to those students that don’t reside within their districts.
Is Financial Support Offered? The majority of DPT schools offer some form of financial support to their prospective students. Inquire if the colleges you are examining have a financial assistance department and find out what kind of help is available. At a minimum they should help in acquiring a student loan or any scholarships you may be eligible for. Some physical therapy colleges offer scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before you eliminate a program because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy college you finally select can provide the class schedule you need. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while you attend classes. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Whitewater KS area, verify that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, check if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to carry. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Earning Your Physical Therapy Degree near Whitewater Kansas?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Whitewater KS area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
For many millennia, the Great Plains of North America was inhabited by nomadic Native Americans. From the 16th century to 18th century, the Kingdom of France claimed ownership of large parts of North America. In 1762, after the French and Indian War, France secretly ceded New France to Spain, per the Treaty of Fontainebleau.
In 1802, Spain returned most of the land to France. In 1803, most of the land for modern day Kansas was acquired by the United States from France as part of the 828,000 square mile Louisiana Purchase for 2.83 cents per acre.
In 1854, the Kansas Territory was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. In 1855, Butler County was established within the Kansas Territory, which included the land for modern day Whitewater.
Pick the Best Physical Therapist School near Whitewater KS
Deciding on the best physical therapy program is a necessary initial decision you have to make to start a gratifying career in the health care field. As we have covered in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and college you enroll in should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are other relevant questions that you should ask concerning your school of choice as well. As you commence your search for a physical therapy program, bear in mind that many factors will lead you toward your ultimate decision. You might decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk to active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this critical question: will this college help me reach my goal of becoming a licensed practicing physical therapist? By following our list of supplemental questions, you will be able to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary training and education, you can accomplish your dream to become a practicing physical therapist in Whitewater KS.
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